Dryland pastures and grazing
Beef cattle grazing as well as horses, dairy cattle and sheep grazing modified pastures occupy about 72 per cent of the Peel Food Zone investigation area. Hay and other fodder production from dryland (non-irrigated) pasture is also included in this suitability assessment.
The most suitable grazing land were identified along the eastern edge and centre in the southern half of the investigation area. These areas have relatively fertile soils which retain phosphorus and are located away from sensitive waterways and wetlands.
In the western areas, a major constraint to grazing is the high risk of phosphorous export when fertilisers are applied to deep sandy soils close to sensitive waterways and wetlands.
Careful fertiliser use is needed to protect nearby Peel-Harvey waterways and estuary. For this reason, farmers in the Peel-Harvey are encouraged to test their soils for nutrients and only apply the type and amount of fertilisers needed for pasture growth. The addition of clay and soil amendments to increase the retention of phosphorus are options being explored in the Peel-Harvey.